At some point during a recent trip to a sponsor appearance with NASCAR drivers Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano, I found myself starting to feel sorry for them.
Weird, right? I mean, these dudes get paid by the truckload, enjoy the lifestyles of famous athletes and have a gig some people would give their right arm to have.
But seriously: As I watched Hamlin and Logano sign autograph after autograph, make five seconds of small talk and take photos with an endless line of hair stylists at a SportClips convention in Orlando on Tuesday, I felt some sympathy.
We always hear about how NASCAR drivers have so much to do away from the track, but seeing it in person really made it hit home.
I was tired from the recent Talladega race weekend, and I didn't even race. So it's got to be tough at times for drivers to have a very full race schedule and then spend their "off-days" jetting off to sponsor appearances like the one in Orlando.
You wouldn't know it, though. Hamlin and Logano both understand sponsor commitments are just part of the NASCAR game; without sponsors, drivers can't race because there's no money for their teams to build cars and motors and hire crewmen.
The SportClips appearance was entirely routine – a few remarks on stage, a car unveiling, an autograph session and some interviews – so while it was a bit boring to attend, it's a good way to show you a typical day for a NASCAR driver.